Andi, Avery and Anniversary

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Today, a little birthday after school spontaneous “Build-A-Tiger”….Rainbow Stripe.

Today my daughter turns seven. For seven years, I have had the privelege of being Andi Gayle Grace’s mom and thus receiving a front row seat to her thoughtfulness and intensity, her soul and singing, her development and growth, and her personality, and play. For seven years, Andi has been ┬ásmiling, crying, eating, using her voice, and moving her body. For seven years I’ve gotten to take care of Andi, cheer her on, love, celebrate, discipline, and study her.Andi 3

Some things have stayed the same…

She picks: bare feet, puzzles, art, creative play in a corner, and being physical.

She skips: being left out or left behind, last minute changes or stress, brushing out the front of her hair, staying “even-steven” emotionally.

Somethings continue to impress and surprise us…

Her first grade tenacity and friend-making has far surpassed the overwhelming exhaustion she had in kindergarten.

She explored dance and gymnastics this year and has landed on gymnastics for the primary reason of getting to handstand and cartwheel her way through any where we go.

Andi decided to take her training wheels off on Memorial Day weekend and rode freely and strong off on her own in minutes!

Andi makes us laugh, gets angry quickly, loves deeply and so easily, and is still finding treasures in what most people see as trash. Andi loves her brothers and makes time for them individually. She crafts and writes and does really well at school. Andi is maturing into her own ideas and losing absolutely, not one ounce, of artistic imagination. I celebrate her beauty and efforts and affirm she is cherished just as she is right now and will be forever.

On a whole other level, I just returned yesterday from visiting another “daughter” of mine.

I met Lauren when she was 15 and in Park Hill Young Life club. Drew and I gave our whole life to Young Life kids at that time of our life and Lauren was one we loved the most. She spent hours at our house and she and I became the best of friends. Seven years ago, she met the man she married in 2013. Last week, they had a baby girl named Avery.IMG_0013IMG_0029

I was invited into their precious first days as a family to feed Lauren so she could feed Avery, to say a lot as an experienced parent to brand new ones, but also to keep my mouth shut as they followed their own instincts and preferences. I stayed in their beautiful and comfortable house and helped with meals and errands, breastfeeding technique, burps, and her first bath. I was overwhelmed seeing Lauren so confident, comfortable and in love with her daughter, and yet not surprised at all. Lauren will be a wonderful, loving, intelligent, invested, crafty, and attentive mom.

Aron’s love for Avery was off the charts when I arrived on day 1, but his confidence in newborn handling was a bit low. He grew 5-fold in 5 days in his level of confidence and skills in caring for such a tiny human. He never ever wavered in his unconditional support and love for Lauren. Their marriage is built on a deep friendship and their love birthed a baby who is invited up into love that happened before her, and will always be there for her.

I am so grateful I got to spend days with one of my dearest friends, in awe of her maternal intuition and ease of mothering. I loved meeting a very precious new baby Avery, and being a part of their life in Dallas. I went to help, reassure, remind, affirm, teach, and cook. I left, filled up having been a part of something so special and new and felt very taken care of by my good friend and her sweet husband and their hospitality.

And we’ve marked a family anniversary...

While I was gone, the one year anniversary of our move-in date to our new house happened. We moved April 26, 2014. On April 26, 2015, Drew and a gang of strong and adventurous men friends, moved again…a swing set into our back yard.

We’ve spent a year trying to resurrect the remains of grass that once was lush and healthy but is now very clover and weed infested. We spent a year growing vegetables in the garden we inherited, wore out precious new healthy grass for the very good reason of backyard baseball during the Royal’s World Series run, and we ate meals out on our deck.

We made innumerable inside memories with our first fire in the fireplace, hosting baby showers for Laura and June and Lauren and Avery, a wedding shower for Melissa, and Christmas Being. We woke up here on Christmas morning with stockings hung on our actual mantle. We’ve met neighbors, made friends, and swam laps on the swim team. We changed schools and haven’t looked back. We’ve hosted visitors and held sleepovers.

On the night we moved in we measured the kids on the doorframe in the laundry room. This year, they measured almost 4 inches taller each. We’ve literally grown up in our house.

The swingset was a dream of mine. I wanted a place to play, be active, be imaginative, be alone, be together, and be free in our own backyard. We were doing okay on all this without one but I thought our backyard and children’s brains and bodies would benefit from one. I wrote a note on the door of an unused looking set asking if perhaps they were done with it. A nice man called and said, yes they were and sure it could move to our yard. One month later, Drew led the charge, our friends stepped up, and my dream came true.IMG_4398IMG_4415

As we look celebrate Andi, welcome Avery, and adjust the angle on the swingset, I’m amazed. Life is moving and my heart might as well move with it.

For Andi and Avery: You are precious daughters of the perfect parent, God, who made you, loves you, knows you, and celebrates you. You are bold and beautiful and built to do hard things. You have our love always, no matter what. We cheer you on as you climb mountains and we will catch you when you need hugged and held. Be all of YOU, all the time. You are blessed, and a blessing.

For 4105 NW 79th Ter: You have held our family and hosted our friends. Thank you. ┬áPlease don’t do anything expensive in 2015. We are saving money for cars, who thank you for the garage spaces by the way.

 

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